All pain, all gain at Tribe Yoga’s barre session

Amy Oakes: Barre instructor

Amy Oakes: Barre instructor

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WORK out with the beautiful people at the barre, in a blend of yoga, pilates and pain

The treatment

A 60 minute session of Tribe Barre at Tribe Yoga, Edinburgh. Classes are £10 each (or £6 for a beginners’ class), £47.50 for a set of five or £90 for ten (other price plans available). Mat rental and filtered water included.

Why go?

If you’ve ever been to an aspirational fitnesswear shop like Lululemon, and wondered who wears their stuff, visit this new city centre specialist yoga centre. Aha, so THIS is where the beautiful people go. The simple layout includes two well heated studios, individual showers and toilet cubicles, with fancy products to use, hair dryers and straighteners. There is also a shop area selling fitness gear.

Our spy says

This place offers Hot Yoga, Flow Yoga and Pilates, but I wanted to try the fitness sensation that is Barre – aka a blend of ballet, pilates, interval training and stretching.

“Is it difficult?” I asked a twenty-something before the class.

“I went for the first time last week,” she says. “And it still hurts”.

Gulp. Our session is taken by South African Amy Oakes, pictured, who is inspirationally willowy, long necked and straight backed, with a kind, encouraging manner. Still, I feel like a hunched hobgoblin who’s scuttled in from the street.

The barefoot class begins with some stretching – easy at first, then more intense – and some pulsing moves that are kept going for eight counts, then repeated twice.

Our first moves at the actual wooden barre involve standing in first and second position (the ballet I did aged six has come in useful at last), while pulsing, lifting one arm, then the next, then both together. I can feel my core muscles twitching.

Each of the participants has a selection of pilates equipment to deploy. We pick up the 1kg weights for routines at the barre that involve working one arm (while holding on with the other) and leg at a time.

I feel a little uncoordinated, but concentrating on the choreography detracts from the stretching sensation in my calves and arms.

Probably the hardest move involves pressing on a squishy Pilates ball with the front of our feet when we’re on all fours, then we’re (supposed to) lift our knees and...thud. More practice required. To finish, there are abdominal exercises on the floor, and some more intense stretches.

The results

I didn’t find this class too strenuous at the time but, the next day, I feel stretched, especially along the back of my legs and glutes, and Oakes has inspired me to walk tall. Also, I enjoyed my trip to Tribe Yoga, which is more like hanging out at an indulgent spa than a smelly old gym.

• Tribe Yoga, 71 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh, 0131-202 6022, www.tribe.yoga